Today we finish the Gospel of John. And what a beautiful way to finish it. Jesus standing by a charcol fire asks Peter if he loves him three times. Do you get the symbolism here?
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
One can look at the different words used in this passage, but what I want to focus on is the absolute acceptance Jesus has of Peter. He does not scold him or rebuke him for his denial before the crucifixion. He doesn’t have to mention it. One of the deepest betrayals in the history of mankind and Jesus doesn’t mention it.
In another passage Jesus let’s Peter know that he’s praying for him. He says, 31”Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31&32).
If Jesus can forgive Peter for what he was going to do and give him a mission – “strengthen your brothers” how much more is he waiting to forgive you – has already done so – and is now wanting to give you a new mission. In both these passages Jesus is about the mission.
Peter, who betrayed the God of the universe, goes on to lead the church of Jesus Christ. What a God we serve. Despite your sin this morning, what mission does God want to give you?